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Analysing topics

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Look at the following two assignment tasks:

Critically examine either of the following issues, and consider whether they are in breach of Australia's obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:

  • the indefinite sentencing provisions contained in s18A of the Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic)
  • the proscription of 'loitering by sexual offenders' under s60B of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic)

Article 17 of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights ensures that "no one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy" and that individuals shall have "the right to the protection of the law against such interference". Choose some aspect of privacy that interests you and critically examine the extent to which Australian law provides for protection against interference with it.

Complete the following table by identifying your tasks and what you need to know to complete them.

Assignment topic 1 Assignment topic 2
What is your task?
What would you need to know to carry out this task well?

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Assignment topic 1 Assignment topic 2
What is your task?
  1. make a critical examination of the indefinite sentencing provisions OR of the proscription of 'loitering by sexual offenders'
  2. determine whether these provisions breach Australia's obligations under the ICCPR.
  1. Choose an aspect of privacy that interests you
  2. critically examine the extent to which Australian law protects that privacy. This involves determining the protection offered by Australian law for that liberty, and establishing whether or not this protection is adequate.
What would you need to know to carry out this task well?
    • What are the indefinite sentencing provisions in s18A of the Sentencing Act 1991 (Vic)? OR What exactly is the proscription on 'loitering by sexual offenders'?
    • On what should I base my critical examination?
    • What are the policy objectives that lie behind these provisions? (OR the proscription?)
    • Are these objectives valid? (For example, are they socially, ethically, or otherwise justifiable?)
    • How adequate are these regulations? Do the provisions/regulations fulfil the policy objectives in a satisfactory way? (What are my grounds for deciding this? Should they be modified or even rescinded because of their inadequacy/ineffectivenes s or the undesirability of the objectives they are designed to meet?)
    • Are there better ways (legal, social, etc.) of achieving these objectives?
    • What are Australia's obligations under the ICCPR? Are these clearly stated? Are the obligations in any respect unclear or debatable?
    • How exactly do I establish whether or not the provisions do in any way breach these obligations? How do I establish whether a breach occurs in instances where the precise obligation or the meaning of a provision needs clarification? (For example, how should I reason my case: what authority can I draw on to guide my reasoning?)
    • What kinds of privacy are there?
    • What privacy issues are interesting to me?
    • What exactly does Article 17 require?
    • What law (Statute? Common?) deals with the privacy issue chosen?
    • Does the law explicitly address this privacy, or is the protection implied?
    • Is it necessary to define any important terms (e.g. 'arbitrary interference')?
    • What protection can I show clearly exists?
    • What levels of protection are not so clear?
    • What authorities can I draw on to try and clarify what that protection might be?
    • What criteria can I use to decide what level of protection is desirable? What is my justification for using these criteria?
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